How the Web Access Team Started at Berkeley

March 6, 2019

The API Department's Web Access team helps units all over UC Berkeley assess how their websites and other technologies work for people with disabilities, and recommends improvements where needed. This helps support our campus community, delivers on our mission of inclusivity, and assists campus designers, developers, and content creators in meeting the University’s policies and standards for accessibility. This interview by API team members Anna Gazdowicz and Lucy Greco provides readers, technologists and policymakers perspective on the importance of web accessibility, relays the history of the Web Access team, and describes how the team contributes to UC Berkeley's important work with web accessibility today.

As Lucy describes, she grew up continually adapting in order to use the Internet, deploying a variety of often marginally helpful tools. In order to improve accessibility at the University, she dedicated herself to educating people and advocating for accessibility. Lucy was working with another team when our then Assistant Provost for Disability Compliance, in response to various changes including legal mandates, suggested formalizing the work that was being done on a volunteer basis and creating a new accessibility team -- we made this happen! As Lucy describes: "Before becoming an IT director and then CTO, Bill Allison happened to be an engineer on a site we reviewed in one of our initial clinics. As a result, he realized early on how important accessibility is and how effective collaborative clinics are, and thus became a key advocate for our work..."

Our support for the team's work continues to be motivated by wanting to make education accessible for everyone. Efforts like this are sometimes easier to establish than to sustain and we in API recognize that effort and commend Lucy Greco, Anna Gazdowicz, Caroline Boyden and their manager Kathleen Lu for working tirelessly on accessibility ever since. We also applaud all our champions, clients and supporters at the University who have recognized how essential accessibility is to the UC Berkeley mission. Because of this sustained effort by this great, dedicated team, UC Berkeley continues to be a leader in this area.